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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thought experiment - two-sided broadband models

I've just seen another vendor presentation suggesting that broadband operators might be able to charge "upstream" content or Internet companies for differentiated QoS, enabling them to "monetise the pipe".

It's a common refrain, underlined as usual by the 2008-era reference to "over the top players".

Even leaving aside the realities of Net Neutrality legislation for a minute, there simply seem to be almost no real-world examples of "cold hard cash" changing hands for differentiated broadband in this way.

Some of the recent work I've been doing with Telco 2.0 on broadband business models has suggested a few possible niche options here - but there will need to be a lot of work to wrap them with integration and customisation. I'll be talking about these in coming weeks and months.

But every time someone suggests operators might charge the BBC or YouTube or Facebook for access to "their pipes" I can't but help wondering if the reality will be the exact opposite.

I can imagine Facebook, with its 400m users, starting to reverse the proposition. "Dear Mr Broadband operator, forget about trying to charge us per GB of data. Instead, we'd like *you to pay us* $1 per user per month for access to the latest version of Facebook's web platform. PS you can also buy adverts to target users on your rivals' access connections"

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